5 Solid Reasons "I Hate Touch Screens in Cars"

5 Solid Reasons "I Hate Touch Screens in Cars"

Touchscreens in cars have become a popular feature in modern vehicles, replacing traditional buttons and knobs for infotainment and vehicle functions. However, the trend has sparked a debate, with some people questioning whether touchscreens in cars are safe and practical.

There have been several recent news reports that touchscreens in cars can pose safety risks. One such report by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that using touchscreen infotainment systems while driving can be more distracting than traditional physical controls.

The report examined the infotainment systems of 30 different 2017 model-year vehicles, and it found that drivers took their eyes off the road for an average of 24 seconds when using a touchscreen system to perform tasks such as entering a destination into the GPS or changing the music. This was 40% longer than the time it took to perform the same tasks using traditional physical controls.

Another recent report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) highlighted the dangers of distracted driving, including the use of touchscreens in cars. The report found that distracted driving was a factor in 10% of fatal crashes and 15% of injury crashes in 2019, with the use of electronic devices being a major contributor to distraction.

The NTSB also recommended that automakers improve their infotainment systems to reduce the risk of distraction, including by providing more intuitive and easier-to-use controls and limiting the number of tasks that can be performed while driving.

These reports, along with others, demonstrate that touchscreens in cars can be a significant safety risk, and they highlight the need for automakers to prioritize safety in their designs. While touchscreens may offer a sleek and modern look, they can cause drivers to take their eyes off the road and become distracted, which can lead to serious accidents.

Here are five reasons why touchscreens in cars might not be the best idea and why I hate them.

1. The Burden of Menus and Submenus

Touchscreens that have too many menus and submenus can be difficult to navigate, and it can be frustrating to find the functions you need. This burden can lead to distraction and frustration, which are not ideal while driving.

2. Distraction and Taking Your Eyes off the Road

When a touchscreen is in your line of sight, it could potentially distract you from driving. Notifications and alerts on the screen may prompt you to take your eyes off the road, which can be dangerous. It is essential to maintain focus while driving, and anything that diverts attention can increase the chances of an accident.

3. Unresponsiveness and Old Technology

Touchscreens in cars can be unresponsive and run on old technology, making it hard to navigate the system or access essential functions. This could be dangerous, especially when you need to use a feature in an emergency.

4. The Need to Look at the Screen

With physical controls, it is possible to adjust various functions of the vehicle without taking your eyes off the road. However, with a touchscreen, you have to look at the screen to know which function you are adjusting, which can be unsafe.

5. Screen Failure

If the touchscreen fails, you might be unable to adjust critical functions of the car, such as the climate, media, or safety settings. This is because many vehicles now concentrate functions on one screen, and if it fails, you may have to replace the entire system.

Let's discover some more insights by answering common questions people have been asking about touchscreens in cards.

Are touchscreens in cars dangerous?

While touchscreens in cars are not inherently dangerous, they do pose some risks. One of the biggest risks is a distraction, as looking at a touchscreen while driving can take your eyes off the road. Additionally, using a touchscreen to control critical car functions can be more difficult and time-consuming than using physical controls, which can also increase the risk of accidents.

Do all cars have touchscreens?

While many new cars have touchscreens, not all of them do. Some lower-end models may still have physical controls for infotainment and other functions. Additionally, some drivers may prefer to use aftermarket touchscreens or phone mounts to add touchscreen functionality to their cars.

Can touchscreens be retrofitted into older cars?

Yes, there are aftermarket touchscreen options that can be added to older cars. However, this can be expensive and may require professional installation, depending on the specific system and car.

Do all touchscreens use the same technology?

No, there are different types of touchscreens used in cars, including resistive, capacitive, and infrared touchscreens. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of touch sensitivity, durability, and cost.

Are touchscreens more expensive than physical controls?

While the cost of touchscreens has come down in recent years, they can still be more expensive than physical controls. However, touchscreens may offer more features and functionality, which could make them worth the extra cost for some drivers.

Are touchscreens more prone to breaking than physical controls?

Touchscreens can be more prone to breaking than physical controls, as they are more fragile and can be damaged by impact or extreme temperatures. However, many modern touchscreens are designed to be more durable and resistant to damage.

Do touchscreens require more maintenance than physical controls?

Touchscreens do require some maintenance, such as regular cleaning to prevent fingerprints and smudges from accumulating on the screen. However, they may require less maintenance than physical controls, which can wear out over time and need to be replaced.

Do touchscreens improve the driving experience?

Touchscreens can improve the driving experience for some drivers, as they offer a more modern and intuitive way to control various functions in the car. However, they may also be more distracting and difficult to use than physical controls, which could detract from the driving experience.

Will touchscreens eventually replace physical controls in cars?

It's possible that touchscreens could eventually replace physical controls in cars, as automakers continue to add more features and functionality to infotainment systems. However, some drivers (like me) may always prefer physical controls, and emerging technologies like voice control and gesture recognition could provide alternatives to touchscreens.

What should drivers do to reduce the risks of using a touchscreen while driving?

To reduce the risks of distraction and accidents while using a touchscreen in a car, drivers should familiarize themselves with the system's features and controls before driving, and use voice commands or pre-set functions whenever possible. They should also avoid using the touchscreen while the car is in motion, and pull over to a safe location if they need to make adjustments or respond to notifications on the screen.


While touchscreens in cars offer a sleek and modern look, there are clear drawbacks to using them and that's also why I hate them.

However, manufacturers are now looking at alternative options such as augmented reality head-up displays, advanced voice assistants, and even holograms. These new technologies can improve safety and provide a more natural and intuitive way to interact with the car while reducing the risk of accidents.

Ultimately, the decision to use a touchscreen in a car is up to the buyer, but it is essential to consider the safety and practicality of the system before making a purchase.

What's your choice? touch or physical controls?